Checking in can be pretty solitary. It’s what you do when you’re waiting for a friend at a coffee shop or killing time at an airport. Location-based game company Scvngr, however, wants to make the check-in process social by having people “bump” their phones together to declare their location.
Building on the idea of bumping, or tapping, phones together, which has been made popular by Bump Technologies, Scvngr is making checking in at places a group activity instead of everyone fiddling quietly with the app. The feature is rolling out today for the iPhone and Android devices and includes integration with social networks Facebook and Twitter (see embedded video demo below).
“It’s friends at a bar, drink in one hand, bumping phones with the other hand, checking in at the same time. Think of it as the ’21st century high-five’,” enthused Scvngr “chief Ninja” Seth Priebatsch. For Scvngr, the “social check-in” is another challenge players can complete (the Scvngr game is about completing challenges at locations; taking a photo or posting a comment earns the player points, as does the bump).
What’s new about the bump itself, says Priebatsch, is that previously it has only been possible to bump two phones together to exchange contact information, make payments or “friend” someone on Facebook. Boston, Mass.-based Scvngr built the application itself because the Bump Technologies API only allows two phones to be bumped. Now, Scvngr says it is theoretically possible to have an unlimited number of cell phones check in together in real time. In fact, says Priebatsch, it’s possible to have a whole baseball stadium check in by punching the air with cell phone in hand, based on a Scvngr simulation.
While the Scvngr bump may seem like a curiosity – and could very well be something a person tries once and then forgets about – it is a fun way to make the check-in more social and more physical, like toasting with friends at a bar. Svngr is rolling out only the check-in functionality for now, but said it is possible to add other functions to the technology, such as a game of tag.
Scvngr makes money by selling the platform to anyone wanting to build custom challenges, including museums, national parks, or universities. So, in the future, the bump could have any function the creator of the challenge wishes it to and could lead to more real-world consequences, maybe trigger a free cup of coffee at café, for example.